July 8, 2015 | By Simon

Although it’s been awhile since we’ve heard about new applications for 3D printing in the fashion world, a lot of developments have been pushing forward under the radar.  

While we’ve previously seen digital fabrication renegades such as Somerville, Massachusetts-based Nervous Systems use custom algorithms for generating complex and foldable forms to create single-print 3D printed dresses that intelligently minimizes material to create a finished plastic product that flows like fabric, we’ve been yet to see additive manufacturing processes adopted on a wider scale by influential fashion designers - until now.  

On Tuesday at a Chanel event for Paris Fashion Week, Karl Lagerfeld presented a new line of 3D printed dresses in front of a celebrity-studded runway, where everybody from singers Rita Ora and Vanessa Paradis to actresses Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart perused over the latest Chanel pieces including a 3D printed version of the brand's iconic Chanel suit.  

The suit, which has been a mainstay in the brand’s collection for decades, was reproduced using selective laser sintering (SLS) for the Paris Fashion Week show and was done in an effort to help bring the classic look into the more modern 21st century aesthetic.  

"The idea is to take the most iconic jacket of the 20th century and make a 21st century version, which technically was unimaginable in the period when it was born," said Lagerfeld after the show.

"The vest is one piece, there is no sewing, it is moulded."

According to Lagerfeld, the increased use of additive manufacturing techniques will only create more opportunities for fashion designers to “widen haute couture” and will be used more increasingly in the future.   

"What keeps couture alive, is to move with the times. If it stays like sleeping beauty in the woods in an ivory tower, you can forget it," he explains.  "The women who buy couture today are not the bourgeoises of the past, they are young, modern women."

Lagerfeld also notes that many of his younger and modern clients are significantly wealthier than when Coco Chanel first started out and are used to more modern technologies.  

"Today it is private jets that transport clothes for women to try on around the globe. At Chanel we have four haute couture workshops with hundreds of workers: they are always snowed under.

Needless to say, it’s one thing to have a design firm that’s focused on digital fabrication create a 3D printed dress and it’s another to have an existing fashion icon embrace the technology into his own collection.  Could this be the beginning of a more widespread acceptance of 3D printing in haute couture?  

According to Lagerfeld - yes, it is.  


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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